Highlights from the Friends of Novi Parks' Verified Complaint in Oakland County Circuit Court Filed November 20, 2001

Novi, MI., November 20, 2001

Lynda Racey 
Friends of Novi Parks
P.O. Box 123
Novi MI 48376-0123 
Phone: (248) 374-1888 
Fax: (248) 596-9146
Scott Howard
Olson & Bzdok, P.C.
420 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone: (231) 946-0044
Fax: (231) 946-4807

Count 1: Violation of the City Home Rule Act
The Michigan Home Rule City Act, Act 279 of 1909, states:
117.5 Prohibited powers
Sec. 5. A city does not have power:
"to sell a park, cemetery, or any part of a park or cemetery, except where the park is not required under an official master plan of the city…"

The City of Novi Master Plan for Land Use, adopted in 1999, designates the property to be given to Sandstone as a Community Park. Since 1993, the land has been planned as a community park and continues to be used for recreational activities.

Count 2: Illegal Use of Bonds Proceeds and Bonding Authority
The land to be given to Sandstone was purchased using the bond proceeds of the park bonds approved by Novi voters in 1993. That ballot question stated:

"January 12, 1993
Recreational Land Acquisition and Improvements Bonding Proposition

Shall the City of Novi, County of Oakland, Michigan borrow the principal sum of not to exceed Nine Million Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars ($9,900,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor for the purpose of paying the cost of acquiring lands in the City and constructing and equipping necessary improvements and related appurtenances on said land for recreational purposes for the use of the City?"

The proceeds of the bond are limited to the language approved by voters in 1993. Giving away property that was purchased for "recreational purposes" violates the intent of the ballot language.

Also, the City of Novi used Eminent Domain to condemn and acquire the Mitchell parcel (40 acres) in 1993. The private property was condemned after the City "declared and determined that it is necessary to develop said property for parkland and public recreation, and that said development is necessary for the use and benefit of the public." To now transfer that property to a private developer would constitute an illegal use of the City's condemnation power.

Count 3: Illegal Use of Grant Monies
The City of Novi used Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to Purchase the Gasior properly on Twelve Mile Road as part of North Novi Park. The City is not allowed to transfer property acquired with CDBG funds to a private developer. The use of the funds is limited to purposes permitted under federal law. The City of Novi obtained the funds for acquiring parkland.

Count 4: Violation of Due Process of Law and 42 USC 1983
The City's denial of residents' right to referendum on the sale or transfer of City parkland as well as the lending of credit and issuance of bonds denies the due process rights of Novi residents guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution under the 5th and 14th Amendments, and as required by the City Home Rule Act, MCL 117.5.

Who Will Hear the Case
The City of Novi's settlement with Sandstone Associates has been assigned to Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John J. MacDonald, to whom the Friends of Novi Parks' petition was also filed. An interesting twist in the history of North Novi Park is that Judge MacDonald also heard the Eminent Domain case the City of Novi successfully filed to acquire 40 acres of the park.

The Friends of Novi Parks' purpose is to support the protection, acquisition, and development of parks and open spaces within the city of Novi. Membership is open to anyone interested in recreation and parks in Novi. For more information, you can visit their web site at The organization can also be contacted at Friends of Novi Parks, PO Box 123, Novi MI 48376-0123.

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Friends of Novi Parks Seeks Injunction Against City of Novi, MI

Friends of Novi Parks Responses to City of Novi Statements

Court Rules North Novi Park Settlement is Illegal






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